Scheduling automations

At the moment I’m using IFTTT to schedule a few automations for me as my Mac won’t always be on and I can’t work out how to schedule a workflow on my iPhone ‘yet’. I don’t want to have to run something manually each week as I know I’ll forget.

Any suggestions for more powerful alternatives as I’m coming up against limitations of single action per IFTTT trigger.

For example: I want to add to iOS reminders multiple entries to a list once per week. At the moment I have 3 separate date/time IFTTT triggers for each item as the iOS Reminders action only allows a single item to be added.


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I use Launch Center Pro for a lot of this - it’s not entirely automatic as once it pops up you do need to run it, but you can have it either run an LCP action, or run a Shortcut/Workflow, Scriptable Script, anything.

Another option would be look into a task management system which is more automatable such as Todoist, and to sign up for Zapier so you can execute multiple actions from one trigger (which can still be a date and time).


Thanks for the reply. I’m keen to keep things simple and rely on as many Apple apps as I can as I’ve things pretty much organised. Just the elusive scheduler part missing for me.

After a long Google I have come across how to trigger multiple applets in IFTTT which I’m currently testing on creating a weekly basics shopping list in reminders.

It’s a bit of a long winded way, but once set up if it works I’ll keep it around.

Thanks again.

Scheduling on iOS isn’t something that’s currently available. As well as Launch Center Pro (as @RosemaryOrchard mentioned), you can also use Siri and reminders - select a Workflow workflow and ask Siri to “remind me to run this at …” This should still pop-up an actionable reminder notification, but it does still require manual trigger.

In terms of IFTT, it is actually possible to have multiple actions. You just need to use the platform builder - IFTTT Platform (Maker Guide). Zapier’s already been covered as an alternative, but it is worth noting that if you want several ‘zaps’ or more than two actions you will probably require a subscription. It’s one subscription I’ve found too expensive for my potential uses (20 USD/month) when alongside my numerous other subscriptions; but I believe it is the industry leader in capability.

An option I also use is Google Apps Scripting. I found it relatively straight forward to build scripts that could send e-mails out on a rough schedule. For example I have a script set that prepares an Evernote work journal note for me everyday before I get to my desk.

Of course the greatest control comes when you have your own computer to work with. You may not have an always on Mac, but it is very cheap to lay our hands on a small low power device that is very capable -Raspberry Pi. A Pi Zero is less than a month’s subscription to Zapier. What you miss out with here is direct service integrations. But you can use utilities such as CURL in a shell script to trigger say IFTTT through a Web Hook trigger and you have multiple steps run on your Pi each triggering a separate IFTTT action followed by processing a file in Dropbox, followed by FTP’ing something to your own website, … It provides the most flexibility but requires the most investment of your time.

Hope that helps.


I do have an old Raspberry Pi, but I should grab myself a Zero and get to work on it as a hub for automation and as a scheduler.

Thanks for the link to the IFTTT platform area as I had completely missed it. That will simplify a heck of a lot for me.

@RosemaryOrchard I still think there is a need for more investigation of basic scheduling of automations which shouldn’t be overlooked. Thanks for your feedback and I look forward to more from this group and podcast.


@pearcen, [personal question!]
Could you give examples of the reminders you want to set up?
So there are =>3 things you want to be reminded about, most weeks, but the things can change. Are the things related to related to each other like in a set, or multiple categories?

Do they change depending on time (bring the recycling out to the bin for pickup) or because of something you accomplished (when I’m finished the worksheet remind me to send it to Kim as well as my team)

Thanks for the reply!

Close, but not quite. It’s the scheduling trigger for the action I’m wanting to perform that I’m more interested in as it seems to be the missing link for me and all the automations I’m hearing or learning about are based on manually kicking something off.

Let’s take a recurring shopping list using iOS reminders app as an simple example.

Each week you go shopping on a Saturday morning and you need to buy the same things that are the staples of your shop:

  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Box of Crunchy Frog chocolates
  • Juice
  • 10kg of junk food
  • Fruit to rot quietly in a fruitbowl untouched.

Rather than type the same items each week, or remember to uncheck the completed ones it would be nice to have them appear automatically on the list at the correct time each week.

Currently to do this I’ve x amount of IFTTT applets (1 for each item on my list) with the trigger of date/time (Lets say Sat 00:00) and the action of add the item to the list Shopping in iOS Reminders.

I’d just like a more elegant, simple, compact and bijou way to schedule this action and schedule is the word here as performing the action in IFTTT or Workflow etc is the easy bit.

iOS reminders is also reminders on the Mac. If you have a Mac you could have an AppleScript automatically add these items once a week for you (running at a time your machine is usually on).

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Absolutely could. I’m just posing it from iOS/cloud as I can never predict when the Mac will be on and I don’t really want list items cluttering up until I need them. Picky I know :smiley:

I think as things stand today that’s probably your trade off. Working to the constraints of someone else’s integration framework vs. creating and controlling your own.

Using another task list app might be another consideration. Many have better integration options and options to even e-mail in that you may be able to leverage for a smaller automated approach. Maybe even something like Drafts 5 would suffice for this with templates actions.

As it is, the IFTTT approach is simple, it’s just more onerous to create and maintain vs. a solution that allows you to say transform lines of a text file as a standard checklist to a list of items to be checked off.

Another alternative might be to use recurring reminders or programmatically generating a standard list for each week in a year once so that everything’s prepared in advance but in separate lists. That could be as simple as a file duplication task if you were say using something like Taskpaper in text files.

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